It’s been another season of success on and off the court for the Stall girls basketball team.
The Warriors qualified for the playoffs for the third straight year and travel to Columbia today for a first-round Class AAA game at Airport.
The team set numerous school records, including 15 victories this season, but it hasn’t always been this way. Coach Jeff Emory has changed the culture of the program and has stressed more than basketball in his three years as the coach.
“From 2006-10, the team had a total of 14 wins and was dominated on a nightly basis,” Emory said. “Since that time, we have become a team that wins on a regular basis and are a team that no one can look past.”
The Warriors won two tournaments this season, including their own. The Warriors and the other participating schools in the Stall Invitational were able to donate more than 200 gifts to the local Salvation Army through a community service project.
“The team has set school records for wins, points scored and pretty much every other statistical category all while being comprised of a 13-man roster that includes five freshmen and two sophomores,” Emory said. “We are building character as well as athletes. Every senior over the past three seasons has attended college, and we look to be on that path again with this year’s class.”
Emory, a 39-year-old North Carolina native, has 15 years of experience coaching at all levels. He played baseball in college, “but the flow of the game, the X’s and O’s, is the reason why I chose to coach basketball.”
He moved to Charleston from Virginia four years ago to coach a women’s semi-professional team, the Charleston Lowcountry Fire.
Warriors sophomore Alexus Richardson, who splits time between guard and forward, leads Stall with 18.5 points, 8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Senior Essence Lloyd is having a productive season with 10.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest.
Freshman Zelaria Simpson is the point guard, while a pair of seniors, Shelby McGuire and Keonna Morrison, serve as captains.
The High School League playoffs begin today with Class AAA and Class A girls, and kicks into full gear Tuesday.
The Lower and Upper State championships are set for Feb. 23 at the Florence Civic Center and Bi-Lo Center, respectively.
The state championships will be held March 1-2 at the Colonial Life Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina.
The SCISA state playoffs tip off Friday and culminate with the state championships on Feb. 23 at the Sumter County Civic Center.
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @PandCphil.